IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Hacking Team data leak 'reveals links to Sudan and Russia'

Cyber criminals hack spy tool vendor to 'show it sold products to UN-embargoed Sudan'

Man typing code on a laptop

A surveillance and exploit tool vendor has been hacked, with documents revealing commercial links to countries it has denied doing business with.

The Italian company, Hacking Team, specialises in "offensive security", providing software to gain access to systems and collect data undetected.

However, its network was compromised at some point on Sunday evening by unknown cyber criminals, who hijacked its Twitter page to rename it 'Hacked Team', and posted a link to a torrent containing 400GB of stolen information.

The leaked files appear to show links between Hacking Team and countries such as Sudan and the United Arab Emirates.

Both governments have been criticised by Human Rights Watch in the past for oppressive regimes, and Sudan in particular is currently under a UN trade embargo.

A report by Citizen Lab in 2014 suggested that Hacking Team's Remote Control software was in use in the Sudan despite the embargo banning this, and a UN investigation has been ongoing for around a year.

Hacking Team has previously stated that it "has no business relations or any agreements that would allow the Sudan or any entity in its territory to use the software", but the leaked files suggest this is not true.

An invoice dated 5 September 2012 references a contract signed on 29 June that year between Sudan and Hacking Team.

The contract, apparently for the vendor's Remote Control software, was worth 960,000.

An internal maintenance document listing customers' subscription statuses also lists Sudan as "not officially supported"  a category it shares with Russia.

Speaking with IBTimes in 2013, Eric Rabe, Hacking Team's head of communications, was keen to emphasise the legality of the company's dealings.

"The process under which Hacking Team sells its products is designed to make sure they are not abused and they are used in accordance with the applicable laws and international standards such as black lists that restrict where some products like this can be sold," he told the site.

Featured Resources

Four strategies for building a hybrid workplace that works

All indications are that the future of work is hybrid, if it's not here already

Free webinar

The digital marketer’s guide to contextual insights and trends

How to use contextual intelligence to uncover new insights and inform strategies

Free Download

Ransomware and Microsoft 365 for business

What you need to know about reducing ransomware risk

Free Download

Building a modern strategy for analytics and machine learning success

Turning into business value

Free Download

Recommended

Ten ways to protect your company from the next big data breach
data breaches

Ten ways to protect your company from the next big data breach

18 Feb 2022
Gumtree site code made personal data of users and sellers publicly accessible
data protection

Gumtree site code made personal data of users and sellers publicly accessible

16 Dec 2021
Podcast Transcript: What’s so hard about public sector IT?
public sector

Podcast Transcript: What’s so hard about public sector IT?

3 Dec 2021
The IT Pro Podcast: What’s so hard about public sector IT?
public sector

The IT Pro Podcast: What’s so hard about public sector IT?

3 Dec 2021

Most Popular

Russian hackers declare war on 10 countries after failed Eurovision DDoS attack
hacking

Russian hackers declare war on 10 countries after failed Eurovision DDoS attack

16 May 2022
Windows Server admins say latest Patch Tuesday broke authentication policies
Server & storage

Windows Server admins say latest Patch Tuesday broke authentication policies

12 May 2022
Microsoft to double salary budget to retain workers
Careers & training

Microsoft to double salary budget to retain workers

17 May 2022